yoga, rhinos, and dark skies: ampr now representing andbeyond

February 19th, 2013

We are proud to announce  andBeyond as our newest client.  andBeyond is a leader in luxury experiential travel and a conservation pioneer offering well-heeled travelers diversity, escape, and natural heritage.

New & Noteworthy

  • In the first private game reserve donation of rhinoceros to another country, andBeyond is translocating six white rhinoceros from andBeyond South Africa to Botswana.  South Africa lost 668 to illegal poaching last year;  Botswana offers excellent security systems to protect the endangered species.
  • andBeyond is currently offering honeymoon travelers a 50 percent discount on the bride’s travel across all &Beyond lodges.  Highlighted locations include:  andBeyond Mnemba Island where guests can swim with dolphins and watch green turtles hatch before they swim off to sea; and andBeyond Kichwa Tembo, located in one of the richest and most diverse wildlife areas in the world.
  • The Homestead at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal is now offering Yoga Safaris.  Other speciality safaris include  family, photography, birding, and wildlife tracking. (more…)

park hyatt masters of food & wine september 2012 series

September 19th, 2012

The final weekend of the 2012 Park Hyatt Masters of Food and Wine, a global series of seasonally- and locally-inspired culinary weekend workshops, will occur at Park Hyatts around the world from September 21 – 23, 2012.

Through engaging and interactive programming, resident and visiting gourmands and oenophiles can become ‘masters’ of regional cuisine. Park Hyatt chefs and sommeliers will lead masters-in-training in three hands-on ‘courses’ on the designated day:

In the Field: Interaction with artisanal food or beverage purveyors
In the Kitchen: Onsite cooking and prep workshops
In the Moment: Tips on service and presentation

Sample hotel itineraries during the September series include:

- Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi will introduce guests to a culinary weekend that will focus on the local and sustainable resources of the region. It will open with a “Sustainable Grill Dinner” hosted by Executive Chef Laurent Pommey and will feature a seven-course menu with dishes such as Seared Tuna and Omani Lobster Carpaccio with Coriander, Local Mackeral Fillet with Herb Crust, and more. The hotel’s signature restaurant, The Park Bar & Grill, will be offering a special four-course vegetarian grill menu throughout the weekend that will include specialities such as Orange Couscous and Mint Salad and Stuffed Purple Kohlrabi with Sweet Potato-Chili Puree and Kenia Beans. Chef de Cuisine Maik Lilenthal will also be hosting a cooking class that will focus on vegetarian cooking and feature a three-course menu.

- Park Hyatt Aviara will take guests to Orfila Vineyards & Winery where they will be greeted with a unique tribute to the European tradition of tasting the Bourru, a young wine derived from fermentation of the Must. Long celebrated during the harvest season, this tasting of the Bourru traditionally takes place from early September to late October and is generally served with savory foods or chestnuts. Masters of Food & Wine is honored to introduce guests to this unique and rarely seen experience. Guests will experience a tour of the winery and enjoy a family-style lunch led by Park Hyatt Aviara’s Executive Chef, Pierre Albaladejo, that will incorporate different types of estate grapes into each dish.

- Park Hyatt Buenos Aires will host an “Organic Springtime” event where organic producers and suppliers create a premium Organic Market in the gardens of the hotel, inviting guests to experience a uniquely organic universe. Attendees will be able to meet, taste, and learn about organic trends while celebrating spring’s arrival in Buenos Aires.

- Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme will offer a special workshop with Mr. Cohen at Les Vergers St. Eustache, the official supplier of all the Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. Guests will have the opportunity to discover amazing and forgotten vegetables thanks to Mr. Cohen, a real fruit and vegetable storyteller.

For more information and additional itineraries for Park Hyatt Masters of Food & Wine September series, please click here.

 

expert how-to: avoid sun damage and still get tan

July 19th, 2012

Yes, everyone looks better with a golden glow. The drawback is that spending hours in the sun takes a toll on skin. We asked Guinot’s Director of Education and keeper of myriad beauty secrets, Elizabeth Murchison, for her tips on how to protect your skin (and still look fabulous!).

What does sun exposure do to your skin?

Sun exposure causes pigmentation and uneven skin, ages the skin, and could cause serious problems such as skin cancer.

What’s the best way to fight sun damage? (Okay, this was an easy one!)

The best ways to fight sun damage is to apply an SPF of 15, 20, or 30 approximately 20 minutes before leaving your home (the actives need time to settle in the skin). If you are planning on being out for a day at the beach, running errands, or taking a fun walk in the neighborhood, you should apply your SPF every two hours as sun protection has minimized.

What is the best way to look tan without damaging your skin? (more…)

work and leisure don’t mix

July 5th, 2012

Image courtesy of SlaughterDevelopment.com

Many of us go on vacation to escape from the anxieties of reality – but perhaps we are unknowingly bringing our everyday life with us.  Between constantly checking our phones, computers, and crafting mental to-do lists for work and home, we are not allowing ourselves to fully decompress and appreciate the beauty of a stress-free vacation.  Nevertheless, there are secrets to avoid this vacation sabotage. According to a recent article by Matt Richtel of The New York Times, the secret involves understanding your motives and your brain.  Here are some tips from the article to take advantage of your next vacation:

1. Start now and practice letting go on a daily basis.  Whether you prefer to engage in meditation techniques to slow the mind or to simply turn off your phone an hour before you go to bed, try to shift your brain out of work mode and into relaxation mode.

2. While on vacation, break your gadget habits and try disabling your e-mail or leaving your phone in the room for a few hours.

3. Absorb and enjoy boredom.  Try to relax and stay in your lounge chair for more than five minutes.  Experts suggest low-stake activities such as hiking or snorkeling to help your brain out.

4. Do not raise your expectations of your trip.  According to Richtel, raising expectations builds dopamine (the organic chemical that is responsible for the brain’s reward and pleasure centers), but if our expectations aren’t met, we are often left disappointed.

5. Work and vacations do not mix.  Experts believe that mixing the two not only interferes with your supposed-to-be relaxing trip but it also prevents you from reaching your full creativity potential.

6. Don’t worry about the load of e-mails that will be waiting for you when you get back to work.  Experts say this will also restrict you from tranquility and from thoroughly enjoying your vacation.  Your workplace will survive and so will you!

So unplug from the office, detach yourself from the phone or computer and give your brain a little R&R.

travel back to the 16th century in istanbul

June 14th, 2012

Photos courtesy of TreeHugger.com and Park Hyatt Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey offers the perfect mix of an urban city center with rich, beautiful history that dates back centuries.  That history comes to life through the breath-taking Mosques and architecture of Sinan, the chief architect of the Ottoman Empire.  The Park Hyatt Istanbul offers you a luxurious room to come home to after your day of traveling back in time – the first mosque is located just fifteen minutes away from the hotel!

You can begin your journey at the Sehzade Mosque, just as Sinan did.  This was one of his first mosques built, finished in 1548, and is perfect from the exterior.  However, Sinan placed the entrance in the center of the mosque to create symmetry, which created a passageway right through the main prayer area.  Sinan recognized his mistake and did not make it again.

The next stop is at the Suleymaniye Mosque, the most famous in Istanbul.  It towers over the city above the Golden Horn.  Sinan built it atop a hill to give the illusion that the mosque is floating – an effect that can only be captured in person.  The mosque just reopened after a full restoration and looks just like it did when Sinan and his team first constructed it!

Located right about the city’s lively Spice Market, the Rustem Pasha Mosque will be next on your itinerary and a perfect place to shop, eat, and meet the locals of this unique city. To avoid the crowd and bustle, two simple staircases lead you up to the beautiful and peaceful plaza that was built right outside of the mosque.  The Rustem Pasha Mosque is most famous for its striking and colorful use of Iznik tile on the interior.

Take a quick boat to discover two other unique mosques and the breathtaking view of Istanbul’s nearly 3,000 mosques that create the skyline.  Located on the island of Uskudar, the Semsi Pasha Mosque and Mihrimah Sultan I Mosque can only reached by boat.  Here, Sinan introduced the double porch to his new mosques and this new piece of architecture quickly spread throughout all of Europe.

Located three hours away from Istanbul, spend the day in Edirne to view what Sinan thought was his own masterpiece, the Selimiye Mosque. Formerly located in the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the mosque now stands majestically in the city center of Edirne.

After a long day of exploring, the Park Hyatt Istanbul is the perfect place to wind down. Not only does the hotel have its own historic architecture similar to what you just discovered (with its own innovative flare), a quick trip to The Spa will leave you refreshed and ready for your next day of exploration. Rates begin at $275 per night.

nantucket book festival: june 15 – 17

May 11th, 2012

The Wauwinet, White Elephant

Celebrate Nantucket Island’s rich literary past, present, and future at the island’s first Nantucket Book Festival, June 15 – 17. The weekend’s celebration will include panel discussions, readings for adults and children, pig roast at Cisco Brewery, and opportunities to meet notable authors in person, plus much more.

A handful of local Nantucket authors will be participating including Elin Handbrand, whose books are ideal beach reads, Nancy Thayer, author of 21 novels with her latest Heat Wave due out in June, and Nathaniel Philbrick, New York Times bestselling author of seagoing books.

Stroll down Broad Street and pop into Nantucket Bookworms to buy a book for your literary-themed weekend. (May we suggest Moby Dick?). Rest your head at The Wauwinet or at the White Elephant, both which offer cozy libraries – perfect for leafing through your new book, with a complimentary glass of port of sherry in hand.

To book overnight accommodations, visit www.nantucketislandresorts.com.

For more information about the Nantucket Book Festival, click here.

making the world a better place one port at a time

April 18th, 2012

Photos courtesy of Inc.com and Crystal Cruises

Crystal Cruises is surely doing their part to help make the world a better place. It all started in January 2011, when they introduced the “You Care, We Care” voluntourism program where guests and crew can be directly involved in worthwhile causes in the destinations they visit, including opportunities such as assisting with poverty relief, education, cultural preservation, environmental conservation, animal welfare, and more. In May, Arun Gandhi joins guests aboard Crystal Symphony for a Iberian Peninsula sailing.

Few names in world history evoke such powerful images of integrity, courage, social harmony, and – perhaps most of all – hope. Arun Gandhi carries within himself the same guiding principles as his grandfather, the legendary peace-maker and spiritual leader, Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi. A speaker of international acclaim, Gandhi has spoken at hundreds of colleges and universities, and corporate and civic organizations. His unique talents and cross-cultural experiences have brought him before governmental, social, and educational audiences in countries all over the world. Arun is a cultural treasure, offering firsthand insights into one of history’s most influential leaders.

From May 9 – 21, 2012, join Gandhi aboard Crystal Symphony’s  ”Iberian Journey“ sailing from Barcelona to London, with calls in Mallorca/Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, and Málaga, Spain; Tangiers, Morocco; Lisbon and Oporto/Leixoes, Portugal; and Bordeaux, France. You too can help make the world a better place!

oh, sunny santa fe would be nice

December 8th, 2011

There’s a reason Angel and Collins from our favorite musical, Rent, wanted to leave New York to open a restaurant in Santa Fe. The City Different was recently voted one of the Top Ten US Food Destinations by TripAdvisor!  Now you can learn to cook like a Santa Fean chef at the charming Inn on the Alameda, recently named one of Condé Nast’s Top 200 Hotels, with the Taste the City Different Package. Led by a chef from the Santa Fe Cooking School, guests will take an afternoon tour of the city with four stops at unique dining destinations, where they can taste the menus, meet the chefs and owners, and learn about the eclectic mix of old and new that defines the region’s distinctive cuisine. The package also includes a cooking class, where guests will learn how to throw some southwestern flair into their kitchens at home.

January to April, 2012 dates are:

January – 1/19-21

February – 2/2-4; 2/9-11; 2/16-18; and 2/23-25

March – 3/1-3; 3/8-10; 3/15-17; 3/22-25; and 3/29-31

April – 4/5-7; 4/12-14; 4/19-21; and 4/26-28

So jump on the bandwagon, and find out for yourself why everyone is talking about Santa Fe!

To see if your favorite U.S. hotel made the list, click here!

can you handle the suspense?

June 14th, 2011

Lucky fans will get the thrill of their lives upon meeting the “Queen of Suspense” herself,  author Mary Higgins Clark, on Crystal Cruises’ “Beyond the Bosporus” sailing  from Venice to Istanbul September 7 – 19.

Known for keeping readers on the edges of their seats, Clark will share tales of her life, her novels, and what it takes to make the suspense come to life.

Two-for-one fares start at just $7,485, and guests can save on verandah and penthouse staterooms as part of Crystal’s big fall fare sale. All bookings include air transportation from 24 North American cities and $2,000 “As You Wish” shipboard credit per couple.

Is the suspense killing you? Book today for the thrill of a lifetime!

polish your “fr-englais” at pavillon de la reine

June 13th, 2011

Little (and big) Francophiles don’t have to stop learning this summer just because the school year is over. The charming Pavillon de la Reine, set in the heart of Paris’ Marais, is offering a new getaway package that includes daily French lessons.

Dormir (Sleep): The impossibly chic Pavillon de la Reine is the only hotel located on the historic Place des Vosges. Originally built in the 1600s as part of the Place Royale by King Henry IV, each of the 54 individually designed rooms are a brilliant combination of antique pieces and sleek contemporary design – cozy yet stylish, sophisticated but comfortable.

Apprendre (Learn): Enjoy 20 minutes of fun and engaging daily French instruction, as well as a French-English dictionary, so one can expertly declare, “je voudrais un croissant” or ask, “où est Le Louvre?”

Jouer (Play): The beloved ivy-clad hotel is steps away from the three-Michelin-starred Ambrosie restaurant, and close to such landmarks as the Pompidou, the Picasso Museum, and Notre Dame. Pavillon de la Reine is ideal for those who love the life and activity of the Marais – not to mention the amazing cafés and boutiques in the neighborhood – perfect for that caffeine boost before a day of shopping in Paris’ oldest designed square in the city.

Rates start at €350 including accommodations, French lessons, dictionary, breakfast and private parking. The package is available July 15-August 15, 2011 and can be booked by calling 33(0)1 40 29 19 19 or visiting www.pavillondelareine.com.

 

Polish Your “Fr-Englais” at Paris’ Pavillon de la Reine with New French Lesson Package

Little (and big) Francophiles don’t have to stop learning this summer just because the school year is over. The charming Pavillon de la Reine, set in the heart of Paris’ Marais, is offering a new getaway package that includes daily French lessons.

Dormez (Sleep): The impossibly chic Pavillon de la Reine is the only hotel located on the historic Place des Vosges. Originally built in the 1600s as part of the Place Royale by King Henry IV, each of the 54 individually designed rooms are a brilliant combination of antique pieces and sleek contemporary design – cozy yet stylish, sophisticated but comfortable.

Apprenez (Learn): Enjoy 20 minutes of fun and engaging daily French instruction, as well as a French-English dictionary, so one can expertly declare, “je voudrais un croissant” or ask, “où est Le Louvre?”

Jouez (Play): The beloved ivy-clad hotel is steps away from the three-Michelin-starred Ambrosie restaurant, and close to such landmarks as the Pompidou, the Picasso Museum, and Notre Dame. Pavillon de la Reine is ideal for those who love the life and activity of the Marais – not to mention the amazing cafés and boutiques in the neighborhood – perfect for that caffeine boost before a day of shopping in Paris’ oldest designed square in the city.

Rates start at €350 including accommodations, French lessons, dictionary, breakfast and private parking. The package is available July 15-August 15, 2011 and can be booked by calling 33(0)1 40 29 19 19 or visiting www.pavillondelareine.com.

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